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Best Chemical Engineering Master’s Degree Programs, Jobs, and Salaries

Mercy Ugonna Njoku - June 01, 2022


Chemical engineers study chemical materials and develop processes to create products, including many that improve global health. If you have a knack for science and want to make a difference in the energy, healthcare, manufacturing, or biotechnology industries, take the first step by enrolling in one of the best chemical engineering master’s degrees.

Our list of chemical engineering master’s degrees will help you get started. This article details the major admission requirements, admission processes, tuition rates, and curricula you’ll find at different schools. It also covers the chemical engineering master’s degree jobs and salary ranges you can expect after earning your Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering.

Where Can I Get a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering?

You can get a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from accredited four-year universities and colleges in the United States. This degree is usually offered by an ABET-accredited college of engineering in most postsecondary institutions. It may be offered as a standalone degree program or in academic departments that also offer bachelor’s degrees and doctorates.

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Some of the schools offering top chemical engineering master’s programs in the United States include Arizona State University, Drexel University, University of California, Oregon State University, Pennsylvania State University, and Syracuse University.

What Schools Offer the Best Chemical Engineering Master’s Degrees?

  • Arizona State University
  • Drexel University
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Syracuse University

What Are the Admission Requirements for a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering?

The admission requirements for a chemical engineering master’s degree are unique for each school. However, some of the common requirements include completing an online application form on the graduate school admissions website and providing a transcript from an accredited US institution, or an equivalent non-US school.

Ideally, your transcript should indicate that you either majored in an engineering discipline or that you’ve completed adequate hours of coursework in life sciences, physical sciences, and mathematics. You may be required to pay an application fee for your application to be processed. Fees are usually less than $100, but international students might pay higher fees.

Other admission requirements for a chemical engineering master’s degree include a 3.0 GPA, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and an English proficiency report. Some programs require applicants to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) , and some require international students to take the TOEFL or IELTS exams to prove English proficiency.

Chemical Engineering Master’s Degree Admission Requirements

  • Complete an online graduate application form and pay the application fee
  • Transcripts from an accredited US institution
  • Undergraduate degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Engineering bachelor’s degree or coursework in life sciences, physical sciences, and math
  • Supplemental materials such as letters of recommendation, resumes, statements of purpose, and GRE standardized test scores
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores or English proficiency report (international applicants)

How to Get a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering

You can earn your chemical engineering master’s degree by fulfilling the national or state-regulated degree requirements for chemical engineering, as outlined by your department or engineering school. These degree requirements include the completion of stipulated credit hours, coursework, and participation in a research project or mentored lab exercises.

How Many Credits Do You Need for a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering?

You need an average of 30 credits to earn a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering. However, some programs in chemical engineering have different requirements, with some programs including more than 30 credits. Master’s degree programs are designed to be completed in one or two years, so the credits will be divided between semesters accordingly.

Chemical Engineering Degree Requirements

  • Credit requirement . Most programs require completing a standard of 30 credits to earn your Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering. Each course is usually assigned three to six credits, with research and technical elective courses having higher credit hours.
  • Curriculum and concentration . Master’s programs are specialized, so you’ll need to complete a curriculum that covers your chosen field. Specialties include environmental chemistry, biomaterials and therapeutic technologies, pharmaceuticals, electrical energy, biomolecular engineering, particle science and processing, and polymer engineering.
  • Final project or exam . Depending on your program, you’ll be able to choose between a thesis and a non-thesis option. A thesis project involves creating an independent research study. If you choose the non-thesis option, you have to complete core courses and technical electives that apply to your specialization in chemical engineering.
  • Grade requirement . Different schools and academic departments have their own GPA metrics. Some require a B or C grade in each course completed, and some require a minimum 2.0 GPA each semester. You may not be allowed to continue in your academic program if you fail to earn the required grades or complete the necessary coursework.

Best Chemical Engineering Master’s Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Arizona State University Master of Science in Chemical Engineering Higher Learning Commission
Drexel University Master of Science in Chemical Engineering Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Oregon State University Master of Engineering or Master of Science in Chemical Engineering Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Pennsylvania State University Master of Science in Chemical Engineering Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Syracuse University Master of Science in Chemical Engineering Middle States Commission on Higher Education
University of Arizona Master of Science in Chemical Engineering Higher Learning Commission
University of California, Berkeley Master of Science in Chemical Engineering WASC Senior Colleges and Universities Commission
University of New Hampshire Master of Science in Chemical Engineering New England Commission on Higher Education
University of North Dakota Master of Science or Master of Engineering in Chemical Engineering Higher Learning Commission
Texas A&M University Master of Engineering in Chemical Engineering Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Best Schools for Chemical Engineering: Top Chemical Engineering Master’s Degree Programs

The list below introduces you to US schools offering the best chemical engineering master’s degrees. Along with a general overview of the schools, we’ve included specifics about each program to help you make an informed decision, including their accreditation status, credit requirements, core courses, admission requirements, and tuition rates.

1

Arizona State University

Tempe, AZ

Arizona State University was founded in 1886 with 33 students. Today it is a reputable public research institution offering its 128,788 student body opportunities to work on innovative and transformative projects. ASU is proud to support its enrollees, with 80 percent of incoming freshmen receiving academic scholarships and 46 percent from minority backgrounds in the Fall 2021 school year.

Chemical Engineering (MS)

Arizona State University offers this program at the master’s and doctorate level. The 33-credit master’s program covers core courses like transport processes, chemical reactor engineering, and thermodynamics of chemical systems. Graduate research areas include environmental chemistry and remediation, particle science and processing, and biomolecular engineering.

Chemical Engineering (MS) Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition and Fees: $32,632/year (in state); $44,456/year (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 33 credits
  • Program Length: 1 - 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 66%

Chemical Engineering (MS) Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: GRE (optional)
  • Application Fee: $70 (US citizens); $115 (non-US citizens)
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited US institution or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: Resume, personal statement, three letters of recommendation, and IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE test scores for international students

Applying to Arizona State University

  1. Complete an online application form.
  2. Include supporting documents, such as recommendation letters, your personal statement, and a resume.
  3. You can mail your official transcript directly or send it through an electronic transcript service.
  4. Your official test scores should be sent directly by ETS.
  5. Pay your non-refundable application fee. This fee can’t be deferred or waived.
  6. If you’re an international student, include a proof of English proficiency report.

2

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA

In 1919, Anthony J. Drexel founded Drexel University to promote cooperative education. Drexel University is a private research institution that has earned a reputation as a principal player in experiential education. Drexel’s study body consists of 23,217 students enrolled in its 200 academic programs across 15 colleges.

MS in Chemical Engineering

The chemical engineering graduate program at Drexel University allows students to conduct research in specialized fields of study such as biological engineering, energy and the environment, polymer science, and multiscale modeling. Students have the option of participating in a three- or six-month graduate co-op before graduation, which will help prepare them for the workforce.

MS in Chemical Engineering Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $1,342/credit
  • Required Credits: 45 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years (full time); 3 - 4 years (part time)
  • Learning Format: On campus
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 71%

MS in Chemical Engineering Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: GRE (optional)
  • Application Fee: $65
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s degree in an engineering or related field
  • Other Requirements: Resume, personal essay, and two letters of recommendation. Non-native English applicants who attended a non-US institution should submit proof of English proficiency (TOEFL, PTE, IELTS, or DUOLINGO)

Applying to Drexel University

  1. Start the online application by creating an account.
  2. Submit supplemental materials, which include two letters of recommendation, a personal essay, and a resume.
  3. Have an official college transcript sent to the school.
  4. Ensure your proof of English report is submitted, if required.
  5. Apply for financial assistance and track your admission status.

3

Oregon State University

Corvallis, OR

Since its opening in 1868, Oregon State University has made it its mission to provide accessible and quality education to students. As such, its 34,108 students from 106 countries have access to over 200 innovative academic degrees. There are two campuses, 12 experiment stations, 11 colleges, and extension programs in 36 countries.

MEng or MS in Chemical Engineering

The School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering offers two types of master’s degrees. A Master in Engineering is a coursework-only degree, while Master of Science students must write theses. Students can choose from a wide range of program concentrations, including biotechnology, fluidization engineering, micro-energy and chemical systems, and biochemical reactors.

MEng or MS in Chemical Engineering Overview

  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Tuition: $557/credit (in state); $1,070/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 45 credits
  • Program Length: 1-2 years
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 69%

MEng or MS in Chemical Engineering Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: GRE
  • Application Fee: $75 (domestic); $85 (international)
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Other Requirements: Resume, statement of objectives, and three references. Applicants from non-English speaking countries should submit TOEFL (580 minimum) or IELTS (6.5) language proficiency reports.

Applying to Oregon State University

  1. Choose which master’s program you’d like to attend.
  2. Fill out the online application for your specific program.
  3. Include contact information for three references, your statement of objectives, and resume.
  4. Submit electronic copies of your undergraduate transcripts.
  5. If applicable, attach a language proficiency report that’s less than two years old. Please note, there is a Graduate Pathways Program that can help if your scores aren’t up to par.

4

Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA

Pennsylvania State University is a land-grant university known for its expert research and teaching efforts. It was founded in 1855. Today, there are 24 campuses, 275 majors, 200 minors, and 100 undergraduate certificates for students to choose from.

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering

This is a unique master’s degree program because it uses an accelerated timeline to teach advanced concepts in chemical engineering. Penn State’s research in chemical engineering is renowned in the US, making this a great environment to study biotechnology, computational and data science, thermodynamics, materials engineering, and sustainability.

One-year, Non-thesis Master of Science in Chemical Engineering Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $1,024/credit (in state); $1,701/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 30 credits
  • Program Length: 1 year
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 73%

One-year, Non-thesis Master of Science in Chemical Engineering Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: GRE (optional)
  • Application Fee: $65
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited US institution or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: Statement of purpose and three letters of recommendation. International students from non-English speaking countries must submit TOEFL or IELTS results.

Applying to Pennsylvania State University

  1. Apply online through the Graduate Online Application Portal.
  2. Unofficial transcripts are allowed for review purposes. You will need to submit an official transcript if you’re accepted.
  3. Write a statement of purpose and send the contact information of your three references. You can include a resume if it would strengthen your application.
  4. If you are an international student from a non-English speaking country, have your TOEFL (minimum overall score of 80) or IELTS (minimum 6.5) exam results sent directly to the school. International students who received a bachelor’s degree from a US accredited institution are exempt from this requirement.
  5. GRE scores are not required, but you can have them submitted if you’ve already taken the exam.

5

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY

Syracuse University is a private research institution that was founded in 1870. This student-focused university ensures students build diverse learning experiences through its 13 academic divisions. There are 200 majors and 100 minors for students to choose from. There are also 200 graduate degree programs.

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering

This is a self-paced and flexible degree plan that allows students to complete a research thesis or oral examination to graduate. Aside from a core curriculum that applies to all fields of study, students can choose elective courses in bioengineering, computer science, environmental engineering, materials science, and manufacturing engineering.

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $1,802/credit
  • Required Credits: 30 credits
  • Program Length: 1 - 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 83%

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement, but the average admitted student has an average 3.3 GPA
  • Standardized Tests: GRE (optional)
  • Application Fee: $75
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering or sufficient coursework for applicants with bachelor’s degrees in other fields
  • Other Requirements: Resume, personal statement, and letters of recommendation. International students from non-exempt countries should submit TOEFL, IELTS, or DUOLINGO test scores.

Applying to Syracuse University

  1. Complete your graduate application form online.
  2. Prepare your personal statement, letters of recommendation, and resume.
  3. Pay your non-refundable application fee
  4. Request official transcripts from your accredited US college or international equivalent.
  5. If applicable, submit official IELTS or TOEFL scores.

6

University of Arizona

Tuscon, AZ

The University of Arizona is on a mission to produce innovative and adaptive problem-solvers through exposure to a well-rounded learning environment. This public university is home to 46,932 students spread over 300 academic majors, 46 percent of whom are minorities. Nine out of 10 students at the University of Arizona receive financial aid.

Chemical Engineering (MS)

This program dives deep into advanced concepts in reaction engineering, thermodynamics, and transport phenomena. The department focuses on the interdisciplinary nature of chemical engineering by working with the Environmental Engineering Program and offering electives on biomedical applications like nanotechnology, drug delivery, and cancer detection and treatment.

Chemical Engineering (MS) Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $865/credit (in state); $1,794/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 30 credits
  • Program Length: 1 - 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 65%

Chemistry Engineering (MS) Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: GRE (optional)
  • Application Fee: $85 (domestic); $95 (international)
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering or a related field. Required coursework includes kinetics, thermodynamics, mass transport, and four semesters of math (calculus through differential equation).
  • Other Requirements: International students should include IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, or CEFR test scores.

Applying to University of Arizona

  1. Complete the online graduate school application.
  2. Include documents such as a statement of purpose, resume, and three letters of recommendation.
  3. Have your IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, or CEFR test scores sent, if required. If you took the GRE, you can have those scores sent as well.
  4. Submit an unofficial transcript. An official transcript will be required if you’re accepted.
  5. Pay your application fee. University of Arizona provides assistance for low-income students who might need help paying the application fee.

7

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA

The University of California, Berkeley is a globally ranked public university. It was founded in 1868 and offers over 350 degree programs to its diverse student body. UC Berkeley is well known for its successful alumni, with 32 Nobel Prize winners among them. Its current faculty holds four Pulitzer Prizes, and 121 students and alumni hold Olympic gold medals.

MS in Chemical Engineering

UC Berkeley’s program combines chemical and biomolecular engineering concepts and emphasizes research, although original research isn’t a requirement to earn the degree. Along with learning core concepts, students can pursue projects in areas like biochemical engineering, catalysis and reaction, electrochemical engineering, and engineering complex fluids.

MS in Chemical Engineering Overview

  • Accreditation: WASC Senior and College and University Commission
  • Tuition and Fees: $26,429/semester (in state); $32,552/semester (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 24 credits
  • Program Length: 1 year
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 92%

MS in Chemical Engineering Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: GRE not required
  • Application Fee: $120 (US citizens and permanent residents); $140 (international students)
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited US institution or equivalent. A degree in chemical engineering is preferred but not required. Berkeley provides a list of recommended coursework for applicants with other degrees.
  • Other Requirements: Non-native English speakers should submit TOEFL or IELTS scores

Applying to the University of California, Berkeley

  1. Fill out the online application on Berkeley’s Applying for Graduate Admission website.
  2. Submit three letters of recommendation.
  3. Write a statement of purpose and your personal history.
  4. Have your TOEFL or IELTS scores submitted, if required. UC Berkeley does not require GRE scores.
  5. Pay your application fee. You can request a fee waiver if you’re a US citizen or permanent resident.

8

University of New Hampshire

Durham, NH

The University of New Hampshire was founded in 1866. Today, it is an R1 research institution by the Carnegie Classification , meaning it’s well known for its research programs. It has an undergraduate student population of 11,800 and 2,596 graduate students. There are over 200-degree programs and 50+ research centers and institutes.

Chemical Engineering (MS)

The Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering offered by the University of New Hampshire prepares you for either academia or the professional world. Enrolled students have access to state-of-the-art labs for engineering research and fields of study like biomedical engineering, petroleum and petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, pollution abatement, and textiles.

Chemical Engineering (MS) Overview

  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Tuition: $785/credit (in state); $1,370/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 30 credits
  • Program Length: 1 - 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 76%

Chemical Engineering (MS) Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: GRE
  • Application Fee: $65
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from an accredited US institution.
  • Other Requirements: TOEFL or IELTS (international students), three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement

Applying to the University of New Hampshire

  1. Contact the Department of Chemical Engineering with any questions about the MS program.
  2. Complete an online application on the University of New Hampshire website.
  3. Submit three letters of recommendation and a personal statement. Essay questions are provided on the department website and must be answered in your statement.
  4. Have your official transcript and GRE scores sent directly to the graduate admissions office.
  5. International students must submit a pre-application along with their TOEFL or IELTS scores.

9

University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, ND

The University of North Dakota (UND) was founded in 1883 and its first graduating class of six women and two men cemented the university’s focus on diversity and inclusion. It has a relatively small student body of 13,772 total students, but it offers an impressive 379 academic programs. UND has a strong student-to-faculty ratio, with an average class size of 25.

Chemical Engineering (MS or MEng)

UND is the only university in North Dakota that offers a chemical engineering master’s degree. You can choose between an MEng, the non-thesis option, or an MS, which requires completing a thesis or research project. You can participate in world-class research with the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) through the university’s collaboration.

Chemical Engineering (MS or MEng) Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition and Fees: $616.59/credit (in state); $889.16(out of state)
  • Required Credits: 30 credits
  • Program Length: 1 - 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person or online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 61%

Chemical Engineering (MS or MEng) Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.75 (overall); 3.0 (last two years)
  • Standardized Tests: GRE
  • Application Fee: $35
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from an ABET-accredited program. Applicants with degrees in related fields will be considered but must complete additional coursework.
  • Other Requirements: Three references, a statement of purpose, and IELTS (6.0) or TOEFL (70) scores for international students.

Applying to the University of North Dakota

  1. Complete an online application through your admissions account.
  2. Pay the non-refundable application fee.
  3. Write your 1-2 page statement of goals, following the guidance on the website.
  4. Have your GRE scores and, if applicable, TOEFL/IELTS scores sent to the admissions department.
  5. Request recommendation letters from three professors, advisors, or professional supervisors.
  6. Have your undergraduate institution send an official transcript.

Texas A&M University | College Station, TX

Texas A&M University was established in 1876 following the passing of the Morrill Act of 1862 . This flagship institution is home to 68,679 students across 133 undergraduate programs, 175 graduate programs, 5 professional programs, and 92 doctoral programs. Along with its home location in Texas, it has campuses in Qatar, Mexico, and Costa Rica.

Master of Engineering in Chemical Engineering

The Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering is a 30 credit program that covers formal coursework and research. This degree allows the student to pursue a career in research or continue onto a doctoral program . Some of the topics covered are chemical engineering process analysis, chemical engineering kinetics, reactor design, and transport phenomena.

Master of Engineering in Chemical Engineering Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition and Fees: $8,026/semester (in state); $17,553/semester (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 30 credits
  • Program Length: 1 - 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 83%

Master of Engineering in Chemical Engineering Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.3
  • Standardized Tests: GRE
  • Application Fee: $90, plus a $58 processing fee; US residents are eligible for a fee waiver
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering. Science or engineering majors can complete chemical engineering coursework prior to enrollment.
  • Other Requirements: If you’re from a non-English speaking country, submit a TOEFL or IELTS score report. You also need three recommendation letters, a short statement of purpose, and a resume.

Applying to Texas A&M University

  1. Complete an EngineeringCAS application before the deadline.
  2. Submit your resume, statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation.
  3. Upload your unofficial transcript in your EngineeringCAS application. Official transcripts are only required once you’ve been accepted.
  4. Pay the application and processing fees or apply for a fee waiver.
  5. Submit proof of English proficiency, if necessary.

What Is a Chemical Engineering Master’s Degree?

A chemical engineering master’s degree is a post-graduate level academic qualification earned by students who have fulfilled the degree requirements stipulated by an accredited university or college. This degree confirms that the student has completed 24 to 45 credit hours of coursework in chemical engineering and related engineering fields over a one or two-year period.

It also shows that the student participated in independent study and research that developed their skills in engineering design, scientific analysis, and engineering applications. Graduates will be prepared for careers working in chemical production processes, like the conversion of organic materials into things like food, plastics, polymers, and mechanical devices.

How Important Is a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering?

A Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering is very important for individuals who wish to build expertise in a specialized area of chemical engineering. The curricula are designed around specific career paths, and you should be well prepared to find a job and work in your chosen field once you graduate.

A master’s degree sets you up for success. You can work in labs developing products in many different industries, or your expert knowledge of raw materials and production processes can translate into entrepreneurship. Students who earn master’s degrees can also continue onto a doctoral track, which opens up roles in academia and government research facilities.

What Types of Master’s Degrees Can You Get in Chemical Engineering?

You can get a Master of Science (MS) or a Master of Engineering (MEng) in Chemical Engineering. Individual schools have different requirements for their degrees, but the general difference between a MS and MEng is the type of work involved. A MS requires a research project or thesis, whereas a MEng is generally a non-thesis option that focuses on coursework.

Is It Better to Get a Master of Science or a Master of Engineering in Chemical Engineering?

It is better to get a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering if you want to specialize in research or academia. This degree type helps you develop expert knowledge and skills in scientific analysis and material exploration thanks to the research requirement. Working on a thesis will let you graduate with lab experience working on real-world problems.

On the other hand, a Master of Engineering in Chemical Engineering is a good option if you’re more interested in the development of chemical products and working in chemical process industries. While both degrees boost your earning potential, this degree gives you more opportunity to diversify into modern engineering technology fields.

What Is the Difference Between a Chemical Engineering Master’s Degree and a Chemical Engineering Certificate?

A chemical engineering master’s degree and a chemical engineering certificate differ in their areas of specialization and program lengths, as well as the jobs they prepare you for. An onsite or online certificate program usually lasts for one year. It offers training and builds in-depth skills in a particular subject, allowing you to apply for advanced positions in your field.

A Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering covers a broader curriculum and takes one or two years to complete. Degree programs are interdisciplinary and cover knowledge in several chemical engineering aspects, rather than a subject area within the field. It gives you the freedom to explore different career paths and research in a lab before graduating.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering?

A Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering costs $19,314 per year on average, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Costs depend on specific programs, how many semesters you study, and the type of institution. Public institutions cost an average of $14,208 per year, while private schools charge $27,776 on average.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Chemical Engineering Master’s Degree?

It takes two years to get a chemical engineering master’s degree. This can vary depending on your program, with many academic departments breaking down their requirements by semesters rather than years of study. Most schools project that students will complete their program in three or four semesters.

A defined number of credits must be completed each semester. For a Master’s in Chemical Engineering, a semester typically includes six to 15 credits, depending on the types of classes you’re taking and whether you’re working on a research project. You may be able to consult with a faculty advisor to design a degree plan that fits your needs, such as part-time study.

How Hard Is It to Get a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering?

It is not very hard to get a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering if you have a strong background in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Chemical engineering degree programs are competitive and will be challenging for the average student, so it’s essential to complete engineering coursework before applying to a chemical engineering master’s program.

Some chemical engineering programs admit students without degrees in chemical engineering, but they usually require a bachelor’s degree in a related field, like the physical sciences or another field of engineering. In these cases, you’ll need to complete engineering coursework as prerequisites before moving on to advanced chemical engineering courses and research.

Why Should You Get a Chemical Engineering Master’s Degree?

You should get a chemical engineering master’s degree if you want a career in researching and developing new technologies. If you already have a strong background in engineering, you can specialize in a lucrative or cutting-edge area in chemical engineering. If you’re already working in the field, a master’s degree will boost your earning potential and open new doors for you.

What Courses Do You Need to Take in a Master’s Degree Program in Chemical Engineering?

The courses you need to complete in a master’s degree program in chemical engineering include engineering research, scientific analysis, computational science, engineering design, and engineering application and innovation. Check out our list of popular engineering courses that will help you build the skills you’ll need to become a successful chemical engineer.

Thermodynamics

Thermodynamics is the study of the relationship between heat and various forms of energy. Chemical engineering students study thermodynamics to learn how chemical energy reacts when placed in different confined physical states. Students explore the laws of heat transfer, heat cycles, and molecular thermodynamics, and learn calculations for work and efficiency.

Biotechnology

Biotechnology focuses on the exploration and application of biological processes to solve issues in food and medicine manufacturing. Students learn how to use biological processes and systems when designing technological systems and software across industries. Subjects include biological molecular engineering, bioprocessing, genetics, and immunobiology.

Biochemistry

Biochemistry is concerned with how chemical and biological processes occur in living organisms at the cellular level. Some of the areas covered in biochemistry include biomolecular structures and functions, organic chemistry, protein engineering, tissue engineering, control mechanisms, and metabolic engineering pathways.

Microfabrication

Microfabrication is a budding manufacturing process in the microelectronics industry. This is a series of processes and techniques used to modify raw materials to create micrometer miniature structures. Areas covered in this subject include microsystems, structure fabrication, lithography and patterning, test structures, and layer formation.

Engineering management

Engineering management combines problem-solving areas in engineering, leadership, and business management. This concentration is ideal for chemical engineering students who want to pursue consulting and entrepreneurship. Students take classes in ethics, project planning, quality control for engineering projects, marketing, and financial management.

Continuing Education Paths for Chemical Engineering Master’s Degree Graduates

After obtaining a Master’s in Chemical Engineering, you can go on to acquire a doctorate in a specialized area. A PhD gives you the opportunity to pursue a career in teaching or research and development. There are also in-person and online programs for professional certifications for those who wish to build more industry leverage in their field of chemical engineering.

Some of the professional organizations that offer certifications in chemical engineering include the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) . Earning one of these certificates can expand your professional opportunities and allow you to dive deeper into specific aspects of your field.

Related Chemical Engineering Degrees

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What to Look For in the Best Chemical Engineering Master’s Degree Programs

Not every chemical engineering master’s program will be compatible with your schedule, academic goals, and career goals. As such, you should consider the following major factors before you start the application process for a master’s program in the chemical engineering field.

Career services and student support

Some schools offering master’s degrees in the field of chemical engineering offer career planning programs and opportunities for internships. These can be essential for launching a successful career, so you should ensure your program offers partnerships with industry professionals, research funding, professional opportunities, and advising.

Curricula content and concentration

Chemical engineering is a broad field with many areas of specialization. Some schools design their programs to offer many research and course specialization areas, while others are more streamlined. In the latter, your coursework will be tailored to the specialization you’ve chosen. If you’re having trouble picking a specialization, you should meet with your faculty advisor.

Program flexibility and format

Some programs have very strict structures, requiring that students complete a stipulated number of credits within a semester, take specific courses, obtain certain grades, and graduate within a specified period. There are benefits to rigorous and structured programs, but they’re not for everyone.

There are numerous opportunities for students who need a more flexible schedule. If you plan to work while you study, you can consider part-time or work-study programs. Many institutions offer a hybrid format, and some offer completely online programs.

Accelerated options

If you are just entering college and know for sure that you want to work in chemical engineering, you could enroll in an accelerated bachelor’s/master’s program and earn both degrees in five years. Your school might also offer a joint MS/PhD program, which is an ideal way to obtain two degrees in a shorter timeframe and access more professional opportunities.

School and program reputation

Before deciding on a school or program to obtain a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering, you should review their reputation. Consider factors like the school’s national ranking, scholarships and funding opportunities, research capacity, graduation rate, and retention rate. A school with involved alumni can also help you with networking and career growth.

What Is the Most Affordable Chemical Engineering Master’s Degree?

The most affordable chemical engineering master’s degree, based on our curated school review, is the MEng or MS in Chemical Engineering offered by Oregon State University. In-state tuition is $557 per credit and out-of-state tuition is $1070 per credit. With a degree requirement of 30 credits, tuition for the full degree costs $16,710 or $32,100 depending on your residency.

Salary and Job Outlook for Chemical Engineering Master’s Degree Graduates

Students and a teacher are high-fiving in a library.
A chemical engineering master’s degree prepares you for careers in pharmaceutical, manufacturing, engineering services, business services, and healthcare industries

By reading this article, you’ve learned how to get started with acquiring your Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering. Now discover what career opportunities await you. This section covers essential details on the average annual salaries for chemical engineers, the highest-paying chemical engineering career tracks, and projected job outlooks.

How Hard Is It to Get a Job With a Chemical Engineering Master’s Degree?

It is not very hard to get a job with a chemical engineering master’s degree if you attended an accredited school that’s focused on student success. You want to make sure you choose a school that provides career advising, job services, and networking opportunities to help you secure a job after graduation.

Depending on your school, you could have access to international research funding opportunities, internships with the school’s industry partners, and online job boards. Other career services include interview preparation, resume review, portfolio building, and career path advising.

What’s the Average Chemical Engineering Master’s Degree Salary?

The average salary for someone with a chemical engineering master’s degree is $86,000 , according to PayScale. This annual salary average is for graduates with Master of Science degrees. Graduates who attended a Master of Engineering in Chemical Engineering program should expect an average salary of $87,000 a year.

Based on the data from the report, the degree holders report above-average job satisfaction. Most of the professionals who earn this salary range are still in their early careers, so you can expect higher pay in a more advanced chemical engineering job.

What Types of Jobs Can You Get With a Chemical Engineering Master’s Degree?

A chemical engineering master’s degree can get you a high-paying job in many different industries, including both private companies and public organizations. Chemical engineers can work in governmental agencies, manufacturing industries, construction, healthcare, and food processing industries.

With an advanced chemical engineering degree , you can secure roles in chemical process engineering, biochemical engineering, engineering management, environmental engineering, biotechnology, petroleum engineering, energy engineering, production engineering, nuclear engineering, and materials engineering.

Chemical Engineering Degree Jobs

  • Chemical Process Engineer
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Materials Engineer
  • Nuclear Engineer
  • Petroleum Engineer

Potential Careers With a Chemical Engineering Degree

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How Much Money Can You Make With a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering?

You can make an average of $90,000 to $130,000 a year with a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering. You can earn more by relocating to cities with a high demand for chemical engineers. If changing locations doesn’t appeal to you, you can obtain a professional certification to boost your earning potential.

In most cases, broadening your skillset by taking courses in a technology or business discipline can also increase your earning potential. Below are the best-paying job roles and career tracks for graduates of chemical engineering, based on the salary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Highest-Paying Chemical Engineering Master’s Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview

Chemical Engineering Master’s Degree Jobs Average Salary
Petroleum Engineer $130,850
Nuclear Engineer $120,380
Chemical Engineer $105,550
Materials Engineer $98,300
Environmental Engineer $96,820

Best Jobs for Chemical Engineering Master’s Degree Grads

A chemical engineering master’s degree can open up doors in some of the most exciting and lucrative engineering fields. Below, we outline some of the best jobs for graduates of chemical engineering master’s programs, including petroleum engineer, nuclear engineer, chemical engineer, materials engineer, and environmental engineer.

1

Petroleum Engineer

Average Salary: $130,850

A petroleum engineer is concerned with hydrocarbon exploration and production. These professionals study, design, develop, and maintain machines, methods, and processes that can be used to extract natural resources like oil and gas. They are also involved in the evaluation and production of materials from natural gas and oil resources, such as plastics.

2

Nuclear Engineer

Average Salary: $120,380

A nuclear engineer conducts research studies to design and develop radiation and nuclear energy processes, to be used in power plants, medical devices, space instruments, and biological systems. Their efforts in electrical and mechanical productions help solve problems across various industries, including medicine, agriculture, alternative energies, and space.

3

Chemical Engineer

Average Salary: $105,550

A chemical engineer draws knowledge from applied engineering mathematics and natural science disciplines to design manufacturing processes that transform raw materials on the chemical level. These professionals conceive, test, and develop production experiments in laboratories, as well as implement developed processes in technological production.

4

Materials Engineer

Average Salary: $98,300

A materials engineer conducts in-depth studies on raw materials at their atomic level. They implement discoveries from their research to develop products for a wide range of purposes. Some of the materials studied and modified by these professionals include ceramics, plastics, glass, chemicals, metals, silicon, composites, and polymers.

5

Environmental Engineer

Average Salary: $96,820

An environmental engineer studies the impact of technological innovations and advancement on the environment. They study environmental problems, including air, water, and soil pollution. They also design and implement engineering solutions for environmental issues, using knowledge drawn from chemistry, biology, and engineering.

Best Jobs According to Your Major

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Is a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering Worth It?

Yes, a master’s degree in chemical engineering is worth it if you would like to specialize in a chemical engineering field. This degree equips you with the knowledge and qualifications you need to pursue advanced degrees and roles in academia, research, entrepreneurship, and manufacturing.

You’ll be able to conduct complex research studies for educational and advisory purposes or develop products and engineering solutions to help with real-world problems. The chemical engineering industry has growth potential and long-term relevance. The 2021 Chemical Global Market Report by Research and Markets projects growth from $3,728.43 billion to $4,304.71 billion by 2025.

Additional Reading About Chemical Engineering

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Chemical Engineering Master’s Degree FAQ

Can a chemical engineer be an entrepreneur?

Yes, a chemical engineer can become an entrepreneur with the right background knowledge in chemical processing, research, and development. To cultivate this knowledge, you’ll most likely need to enroll in an advanced chemical engineering degree program. Expertise will help you secure clients as a consultant, or secure funding to develop your own chemical product.

What courses are related to chemical engineering?

The courses related to chemical engineering include biomechanics, experimental biology, electrochemistry, polymer science, bioengineering, petroleum engineering, drug development, process control, atmospheric physics, and thermodynamics. You’ll encounter these courses in a chemical engineering degree program.

Is chemical engineering harder than medicine?

No, chemical engineering is not harder than medicine, and neither is more difficult. Both fields are highly quantitative and require a lot of problem-solving, so they can both be considered difficult by students. Chemical engineering requires in-depth knowledge of physics, chemistry, math, and applied science courses, while medicine focuses more on biology and chemistry.

Are chemical engineers happy?

Yes, most chemical engineers are happy with their income, career prospects, and job roles. According to PayScale, most chemical engineers report high job satisfaction . This can be attributed to the attractive compensation package and health benefits they receive from their employers, as well as the fulfilling projects they work on.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Mercy Ugonna Njoku

About the author: Mercy has a background in accounting and is a veteran content writer who holds a BSc in Business Management from Abia State University. In her writing, Mercy helps people navigate unfamiliar and complex situations in their professional lives so they can thrive. Her hobbies include drawing, working on startup projects, and engaging in discussions.

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